Venice Travel Guide
Have you chosen Venice as your next travel destination? Well, you’ve made an excellent choice, because Venice is utterly gorgeous, and no other city is quite like it. When most people think of Venice, they probably think of three things right away: canals, gondolas, and masks/carnival, because that is really the essence of this picturesque city! Venice is a mystical journey full of wonder… A journey that takes you back in time…
Built on over one hundred islands and 180 canals, it’s what you might call a “pedestrian city”; that is, the streets are car-free, and unless you’re in a gondola or one of the “floating buses” also called Vaporettos, you’re walking! If you’re considering traveling to this Italian paradise, you’ll want to go sooner rather than later. Why, you ask? Well because Venice is actually sinking, which means that sometime in the future, this wonderful city will be just a memory. Venice isn’t going to be around forever!
As far as food goes; it is recommended that you budget out more than you think you will need. Venice, in general, tends to be expensive. If you want to enjoy a sit-down meal, your best bet would be to go out during lunch time, rather than dinner time. Lunch-time fares tend to be significantly less expensive, with meals averaging around 20 euros or even less. If you do want to indulge yourself with a sit-down dinner, expect to pay up to 60 euros.
You may be able to find a few “cheap” options for sandwiches, pizzas, etc., but they aren’t as common as one may like. One option, if you are trying to save a few bucks, would be to check out some local grocery stores or farmer’s markets and buy your food there. But, in general, eating in Venice won’t be super cheap, so make sure you budget for it. Also remember that a lot of hotels (and even hostels) may offer free breakfast.
To me, nothing beats getting my hands on a 2 Euros slice of pizza and sitting on a bench somewhere just soaking up the atmosphere of the city!
Speaking of hotels and hostels, what are those like in Venice? Well, the good news is that you can find some fairly inexpensive options. The bad news is…the more budget-friendly ones will be outside of the city. Camping grounds is where you’re going to find hostels for the best value (15+ euros per night). If you want to stay in the city, expect to pay a lot more for your hostel (30-50 euro per night). Hotels, just like hostels, are much more expensive in the city. If you want a hotel that’s right in the middle of the action in the city-center, expect to pay over 100 euros per night. It is possible to find budget hotels, but your best bet would be to look outside of the city if you’re looking to save money.
Now, let’s talk transportation. You’ll be saving a lot of money in this department because Venice is very small; you can walk from one end of the city to the other in about an hour. So, much of your transportation will be on foot. No taxis needed! If you want to travel a bit further, you can take a “floating bus”, which isn’t too expensive either.
Alright, I know what you’re thinking now: “enough with the logistical stuff, what can I do in Venice besides eat, sleep, and walk?” The answer? Plenty! If you’re an art enthusiast, you will be in paradise. There are plenty of great art museums, including the Accademia museum, which is sure not to disappoint art buffs. Punta Della Dogana is another museum featuring contemporary art. Be sure to check out the gorgeous churches as well, including St. Mark’s Basilica. It may not be quite as iconic as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, but you sure don’t want to miss it! You’ll also want to go to Doge’s Palace (and no, this has nothing to do with dogs…unfortunately). This is a beautiful palace of former rulers, with access to a prison via the Bridge of Sighs. Make sure you spend a bit of time at the Bridge of Sighs as well!
And If you want some more unique or “off the beaten path” experiences, there are plenty of those as well. Like walking tours and wine tastings that you can enjoy. You can also take a workshop to learn about traditional mask-making, or a rowing lesson, and you can even take a tour on a gondola of some “hidden” parts of Venice!
Another tip is to just get lost in Venice – seriously! Just wander around, and soak in the charming, fairy tale-like atmosphere. And then, when you’ve gotten your day’s worth of wandering, catch a ride on a gondola. I mean, come on, you can’t go to Venice and not ride a gondola! The recommended time is at sunset. Can you imagine relaxing in a gondola with soft music in the background, admiring the Venetian sunset after a long day on your feet? Keep in mind, gondola rides can be a bit pricey – around 90 euro for a daytime ride and 140 euro at night. But, the experience is sure to be worth it, especially since your transportation expenses were so slim!
If you want to go outside of Venice, there are several islands that are just a boat’s ride away. One such island is Burano, which is well-known for its colorful houses, lace-making and lace factories. Another one is Murano, which is known for its glass museums and factories. Pick up some glass-blown shot glasses and figurines from Murano, or maybe a lace dress from Burano, but even if you choose not to purchase anything, the experience of just walking around and taking in the culture of these two islands is sure to be worth it.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The recommended travel months are April, May, June, September, and October. The temperatures tend to be a bit milder during these months (Venice in general is more temperate than inland Italian cities). These months are also Venice’s busiest and most expensive. If the hoards of tourists is what you’re trying to avoid, and you want to save money, try traveling during the off-season, which is typically November-March. It will be cooler during these times, but it won’t be quite as busy and your accommodations won’t be as expensive. The downside to traveling during the off-season is that many of the sights close earlier, around 5:00 or 6:00 PM. Some sights and activities may not even be available in the off-season. Of course, there will still be plenty to do, but just keep in mind that the sights and attractions are open longer during the busy season.
A huge event in Venice is “Carnavale” which takes place usually in late January to early February. Carnavale is a really amusing way to soak in the Venetian culture. There are many different events that take place, and they usually change from year to year. Such events include costume contests, parades, water shows, street parties etc. Since it takes place in January/February, it will be a bit chillier in Venice, but this festival is sure to be worth it since it’s an experience of a lifetime!
Overall, Venice is an expensive city, but if you make a small effort you can find some easy ways to save quite a bit of dineros, while still getting the full Venetian experience. Now, it’s time to pack your walking shoes and head off to this incredible city!
Recommended places to stay
- Venice Off the Beaten Path with Tour Leader Venice
- Day Tour from Venice to Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands with Italy XP